Expect lots of excitement this year as TAG Heuer celebrates 50 years of the Monaco
Hip To Be Square
For a watch that's 50 years old, the TAG Heuer Monaco looks pretty darn good. If you don't know it, this is the world's first waterproof square chronograph and easily one of the most memorable modern timepieces of all time.
Introduced in 1969, the Monaco was a tribute to the legendary Monaco Grand Prix which is hailed as the most beautiful race in Formula One history. Square-cased watches were not at all common, so the Monaco instantly grabbed the attention of everyone who liked watches and who loved racing. Ironically it wasn't an immediate hit but for that same reason today this unlikely icon has a cult following who loves nothing more than geeking out on every model created.
And the classic Monaco offers a lot. First up, the unusual positioning of the crown at nine o'clock vis-à-vis chronograph pushers at two and four. This came about because the Monaco, along with several brands in the industry, debuted the world's first automatic chronograph. At that time named the Chronomatic, the movement subsequently evolved into the TAG Heuer Calibre 11 which remains in production to this day.
Next, the Monaco's chronograph sub-dials are also uniquely square, echoing the shape of the case. Coloured in white, they provide a striking contrast to the watch's beautiful blue dial. Red indications such as those on the hands and the five-minute markers increase the legibility of the dial so the Monaco can better perform its duty as a motor-racing timekeeper.
The watch's dial is indeed distinctive; you can spot it from afar and be absolutely certain it's a Monaco chronograph. Remember the 1971 film Le Mans starring screen legend Steven McQueen? He famously wore a Heuer Monaco on the set and that very moment sealed the watch brand's fate with motor-racing forever.
In addition, its 39mm X 39mm case is not as square as it sounds. Blessed with gentle curves and refined bevels, the Monaco sits perfectly on the wrist. And it is also a great statement piece thanks to prominent design.
The blue-red-white colour palette gives the Monaco a soft vintage allure that seems to be all the rage these days. Plus, matte blue helps highlight the dial without being flashy. But if flash is what floats your boat, then the 2019 special edition Monacos might be just the things you need.
To celebrate the icon's 50thanniversary, TAG Heuer has created five limited edition Monacos each inspired by one decade of the watch's 50 beautiful years.
These watches will be unveiled throughout the year alongside a string of festivities and TAG Heuer has already released the first two – one at the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans and the second at the Monaco Grand Prix. If you're a fan of this sporty square chronograph, now's the time to start making some noise.